• Tony Abbott's government is two years old but what has he done for Indigenous affairs (AAP)Source: AAP
Monday is the second anniversary of Tony Abbott coming to power as Australia's 28th Prime Minister. Mr Abbott promised a new engagement with Indigenous people and we've seen that, as well as controversy.
By
Myles Morgan

Source:
NITV News
7 Sep 2015 - 5:37 PM  UPDATED 8 Sep 2015 - 10:53 AM

TRANSCRIPT

Natalie Ahmat: Monday is the second anniversary of Tony Abbott coming to power as Australia's 28th Prime Minister. Mr Abbott promised a new engagement with Indigenous people and we've seen that, as well as controversy. 

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Less than half IAS funding awarded to Indigenous organisations
Out of nearly 1000 successful applicants for its new Indigenous funding model, fewer than 500 organisations are actually Indigenous, according to a report from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Opposition has used the anniversary to call for the abolition of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. NITV News political reporter Myles Morgan takes a look back at the last two years.

Myles Morgan: Two years old, but is it a happy birthday for the Abbott government?

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: We are sticking with the plan. We have a plan to get taxes down, to get regulation down, to get productivity up, to create jobs, to reduce taxes, to boost prosperity. 

It's all going well according to the Prime Minister, and not just in Canberra.

Tony Abbott has made two trips to remote Indigenous communities: north-east Arnhem Land last year, and far north Queensland and the Torres Strait this year.

Tony Abbott: The children need to go to school, the adults need to go to work and communities need to be safe (2014)

Our message of jobs, growth and community safety is just as relevant here as anywhere else (2015)

The intentions have been good from the Prime Minister and no one can deny there've been some memorable moments of his role in the top job.

"It's hard to think that in 1788 it was nothing but bush"

Two bush trips and obvious passion about constitutional change; even if it's a move not every Indigenous person wants.

But let's not forget some very public foot in mouth moments?

Tony Abbott statements during his term: I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment from the British government in the then unsettled, or scarcely settled, great south land. 

It's hard to think that in 1788 it was nothing but bush. 

It's not the job of the taxpayer to subsidise lifestyle choices 

Of course, gaffes like this are easy targets for the Prime Minister's critics and the Opposition.

But Labor is also writing to the Auditor General, calling for a formal investigation into Tony Abbott's Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Shayne Neumann: The government called them efficiency dividends. Whats' really happened is half a billion dollars has been gutted from frontline services for ATSI people and it's time the government came clean on that. 

"Our view is the IAS has been an utter failure and should be abolished"

Unveiled in the 2014 Budget, the idea was admirable: streamline Indigenous services and cut red tape.

The multi-billion dollar scheme forced many Indigenous organisations to reapply and justify their Government funding.

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Government backpedals on IAS funding cuts to Barkly Regional Council
Funding to an Indigenous youth program in the remote Northern Territory, which was scrapped under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), has been restored.

The rollout of the IAS has been messy, causing confusion and uncertainty.

Some excellent analysis in The Australian shows much of the money is going to non-Indigenous groups.

Shayne Neumann: Our view is the IAS has been an utter failure and should be abolished. We should look at targetting funding and directing organisations in a way where we're working in partnership with them, not lording over them as this Government has done.